By Dennis Chung
Ford Motor Company and Riders For Health are working together to use sensor technology to improve access to healthcare for rural parts of The Gambia. The sensors will collect data that will help make Riders for Health work more efficiently as well as help create the first accurate maps of remote areas of the West African nation.
Earlier this year, Ford began supplying trucks and SUVs to Riders for Health to complement the non-profit organization’s motorcycle fleet to deliver health care to hard-to-reach African communities. Ford’s vehicles come equipped with sensors and the company’s OpenXC data technology to improve maintenance systems and fleet logistics.
Ford has now adapted its OpenXC technology for use on motorcycles so they can also help gather data. Starting in the new year, Ford will equip its technology on 50 Riders for Health motorcycles in The Gambia, where the organization supplies vehicles for the Ministry of Health. The information gathered will not just help improve healthcare, it will also help create maps of remote regions where dirt roads often get erased during the rainy seasons.
“OpenXC started as a project to make a car send a tweet five years ago, but has since become a platform, or an ‘Internet of mobility’ that allows us to use data to better understand how people move around the world,” says Ken Washington, Ford vice president, Research and Advanced Engineering. “Now, the same open innovation mentality behind OpenXC has inspired our team to create a sensor kit for bicycles and motorcycles to learn how other transportation options might best serve people in urban, suburban and rural areas, including improving their health.”